You need to do some simple inspections BEFORE you start turning the wheel to its stops. Get into the rudder
quadrant area where the hydraulic ram is located and see if there are any rudder stops (blocks or external brace that mechanically stops the rudder when it gets to its limit.
- - Have somebody turn the wheel while you watch how the hydraulic ram works/extends the piston. The rudder stop should be set to physically stop the quadrants/rudder before the hydraulic ram piston gets to its end. Banging the piston against the internal end of the hydraulic ram assembly is really bad for the unit and will promote leaking. Do the test both ways, port and starboard wheel turns.
- - If the ram and rudder extend all the way and you can still turn the wheel more then there is definitely a leak in the system somewhere.
- - Normally hydraulic steering
systems have a reservoir tank mounted somewhere. This tank holds the extra hydraulic fluid in the system and has an air pressure pump built in. The reservoir tank is normally pressurized to to about 30 psi. This stop foaming and ensures that no "air blocks" occur in the system.
- - If the rudder hits the stops and the wheel keeps turning - and - there is no fluid loss evident anywhere then the pistons in the steering wheel pump are leaking/bypassing fluid. This could account for your 30 turns in one direction over a period of time.
- - Fluid loss is an easy fix. Find the leak and repair it. Piston pump leakage means buying
a new steering pump. Hydraulic ram bypass leakage can normally be fixed with a hydraulic ram repair kits of parts
. If the piston rod is corroded or rusted due to water
then you need a new hydraulic ram and fix the water
leak or at least shield the hydraulic ram from getting wet.
- - Try to avoid letting the wheel get turned far enough to engage the rudder stops. Hydraulic steering
is extremely powerful and can bend things or pound the stops until they crumble or fall apart.